I've rated everything I've ever downloaded from Audible and this is only the second time I've given a 5 Star (the previous being a Jules Verne classic from 150 years ago!). Perhaps it's because I related to the novel's elements so much: Once upon a time I was a Foreign Exhange Trader; a Cafe Barrista; and have spent many, many nights in Amsterdam!
"The Coffee Trader" is one of those super-rare stories which sticks in my head long after listening to it on my morning & evening work commutes. I've had to snap myself out of a daze at work many mornings after listening to this on the way in. I noticed I was counting down the hours till closing time so I could hear what would happen to Miguel next!
David Liss' tale has it all: lust, greed, envy, humor, tension, you name it. Grind some dark roast beans; take a deep sip; and transport yourself to 17th Century Holland for a few hours. It'll be a journey you won't soon forget!
The story of the 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire is a facinating tale of corruption and incompetance that is eerily reminiscint of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.
I found my blood boiling when learing of the arrogance & stupidity of the US Army and its' selective treatment of people (rich & white vs. poor & Asian). I also loved the general history of San Fran's neighborhoods & city founders and whenever I return to the Bay Area I now often think of this disaster as I walk the town.
My only complaint is the length. An Abridgment would've been nice as this does tend to ramble on at times when describing the various fire fighting methods over & over again.
The first review I ever did here was for "Clemente" ~ which I loved. However, after listening to "Honus Wagner" I can say that I'm even more impressed! Wagner's career coincided w/ the growth of baseball from a "game" to a "sport" and he was truly its' best ambassador.
Besides the expected details of The Flying Dutchman's career w/ the Pittsburgh Pirates, we are also introduced to the dramatic changes that were happening in America at the turn of the 20th Century. Automobiles replacing carriages; athletes & actors replacing statesmen & scholars as the public's sweethearts; Coporate mergers & takeovers affecting everday life; etc.
Plus there is SOOO MUCH I learned about old time baseball that I never knew before: The DH rule nearly introduced in the 1890's; Rabid fans who roadtripped across the circuit to cheer their teams; players suspected of using "performance enhancements" and the public's outcry.
An INCREDIBLE read that literally brought a tear to my eye when completed. BRAVO HONUS!!
While there are certainly some interesting & informative facts in this book, 13 hours is far too long and I found myself "zoning out" after a while. A 5 hour abridgement would've been nice.
I have recently become hooked on Arctic/Antarctic adventure stories and while there have been some that are indeed quite interesting, none of them come close to Alexa Thomson's tale!
Most of us will never be a scientist or an explorer, yet it IS possible to live in Antarctica for months on end as a Regular Joe!
As "regular" people most of us would want to know EXACTLY what Alexa tells us in her memoir ~ blunt, vivid descriptions of Polar life such as bathing, getting drunk, flirting & using the toilet. John Glenn once remarked that he gets more questions about how he went to the bathroom in outerspace than anything else. Alexa's tale is like that!
I honestly learned far more about life in the Polar Regions from Alexa than from Shackleton, Amundson or Scott!
I have known about Bernard Cornwell for quite some time but only when I saw the premise of "The Last Kingdom" did I finally bite: and now I'm addicted!
This is a real "Guy's Tale": if you loved the film "Braveheart" you'll love "The Last Kingdom". Gory details about the sword & axe battles; the burning & looting of villages; the scams & schemes from both the Danish & the English lords; the kidnapping and enslaving of the defeated. On top of all that the narrator is top-notch and I even laughed out loud at many of the little jokes thrown in between the heavy action!
I am downloading the 2nd book in this trilogy ASAP: "The Pale Horseman", and I'm thrilled to learn that the final part, "The Lords of The North" has just been released in the U.K. and will be in the USA in early '07!
Can't wait to hear the next round of blood spilling, gut churning, butt-kicking adventures of Utread Utreadsson!
Bo Dylan said it best, "Just because something's popular doesn't mean it's good."
I had long been very curious about "Wicked" due to it's insane million selling status and subsequent Broadway musical. In fact it was the very first Audible title I downloaded when I first joined.
It look me over a month to get thru just the first 5 hours since it was SO INCREDIBLY BORING that I lost interest and avoided it for days at a time.
The whole story is nothing but a feeble attempt to be sly & witty, but is really just a thinly disguised Christian morality warning akin to C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" books. Gregory MaGuire is incredibly pompus and EXTREMELY long-winded and I have no doubt that L. Frank Baum is spinning in his grave right now in the REAL Land of Oz that we all know and love.
Perhaps some of the other stories in this collection are good (I'd like to have heard the one comparing The Concorde to Hooters Air), but this one may as well be a 4th Graders 'What I Did Over Summer Vacation' essay.
The event that is discussed is uninteresting, childish, and pointless. Some pointless events are actually fun in a strange sort of way, but this one bored me to tears. I can not believe that this story was the one given to us as a "teaser" 'cause it certainly doesn't make me want to hear the rest of the book...
I heeded the previous reviewers warning about poor sound quality and made sure I downloaded this one as a "4". To me it sounds just fine.
The story, obviously meant for pre-teen kids, is still quite entertaining & educational for us "big kids" who also love tales about the Polar Regions. Not only were the expected encounters with penguins & seals here, but there was also great moral lessons on global warning and eco-tourism which I was very happy to hear.
With the recent "hipness" of Antarctica among children thanks to the movies "March of the Penguins" & "Eight Below", this story will certainly be devoured by them. It's also quite a bargain for the less than $7 price!
I've recently started reading/listening to anything I come across regarding Scandinavia after falling in love with the Nordic countries on recent trips. This collection of short stories is among the best "true" Scandinavian ones yet.
A lot of you may not like the slow moving, seemingly uninteresting characters. But the characters in all 4 stories are very much like real Scandinavians that I know. It takes a lot of time & patience getting a feel for them and then *BANG!* the real personalities come out and blossom in a wide array of colors.
My favorite story is "Railroad & Churchyard" which at first seems like a droning, pointless account of two life long pals (one of which, Knute, is a true "man of few words"). Suddenly even the more talkative of the two buddies is shocked when his friend that he's know for decades suddenly opens up and radically changes everyone's life in their small far north village.
Knute's sudden over-eagerness eventually nearly destroys himself and the town. The moral of it being (at least the way I interpret things), "don't get too cocky." A valuable lesson we should all take away from the Nordic peoples.
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